Health Select Committee report: public health post 2013 – structures, organisation, funding and delivery

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

The Health Select Committee published their second report of the second session of this parliament on Thursday 1st September. The report, Public health post 2013 – structures, organisation, funding and delivery, is the result of a short inquiry on the impact of the Health and Social Care Act reforms on the public health landscape. It warns of risks of widening health inequalities and a false economy due to cuts in local authority and public health budgets.

The report concludes that while there is evidence of progress locally, there is less evidence of such an approach becoming embedded across Government departments. It calls for the Government to take bold and brave action through its life chances and childhood obesity strategies in order to improve public health and reduce health inequalities.

The full report can be found at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmhealth/140/140.pdf , and key points from the are below with longer notes attached:

 -          The Committee recommend that a Cabinet Office Minister is given responsibility for embedding health in all Government policies at a national level and call on the Government to protect funding for public health

-          They welcome the move of public health to local authorities as they are well placed and can harness a wide network to help implement changes

-          They believe there is a growing mismatch between spending on public health and the significance it was given in the 5 Year Forward View

-          Cuts to public health services are a false economy

-          They are concerned that systems aren’t in place to prevent unacceptable variation (although they accept that some variation is inevitable)

-          Where commissioning for services is divided between different bodies, any boundary issues need to be resolved quickly

-          They call on the DH to review the barriers which prevent greater information sharing

-          The Committee asks the Government to ensure it has a coherent, straightforward and evidence based approach to the regulation of public health specialists and that this is included in proposals around the reform of professional regulation

-          They conclude that the NHS needs to significantly improve its own performance on prevention